ENVOY IN ALBANIA

Envoy is now anchored at beautiful Cephalonia, Greece.
Fingers crossed we seem to have sorted out our photo issue now.

I meant to mention that although Envoy has two aircons – a forward unit cooling the two sleeping cabins and an amidships unit cooling the pilothouse and saloon – we only use these to provide an AC load for the generator as to use them properly we’d obviously have to close all the portholes, doors and windows – something Di and I don’t like to do. Also to use the aircons we need AC power which means being on shore power or running the generator or running the Lugger with the inverter.
While we’re in Gouvia marina waiting for the epirb situation to be resolved it’s hot – like up to 37d. It’s generally hotter in marinas as there’s less wind than at anchor and large expanses of concretes that soak up and then radiate the heat. Larry and Catherine are having a bit of difficulty sleeping in the heat and suggest we run the forward aircon all night. So we close the portholes and do this, finding after about an hour or so the temperature drops about 5dC and more importantly the humidity drops considerably. So this is a useful experiment and we find the slight hum of the aircon working on shore power not a problem, though we wouldn’t do it at anchor as we’d have to run the generator all night.

We have already spent a few days in Albania with Chris earlier in the season but now need to spend another few days there to avoid over-staying our allowed 90 days in Greece. On our three previous trips we’ve stayed at Sarande so this time decide to cruise a few miles north and south of Sarande. To do this our agent, Jelga, needs to file a cruise intinerary with the Port Police. At the Sarande dock is a very traditional Arab dhow about 120 feet long with its crew all decked out in traditional long white robes and turbans. Jelga tells us it’s owned by an Emarati princess and when the dhow arrived the authorities laid a long red carpet from the dock to the Customs hall.
There’s very few boats anchored here, but one is a NZ yacht called Sparrow. We meet her owners Peter and Dash and enjoy a great dinner ashore together costing a ridiculously low 19 Euros per couple.
Next day we start cruising north and anchor at a very sheltered bay east of Cape Kiephali. Here it’s very remote, accessed only by a dirt road. There’s a couple of houses ashore and a fish farm taking up some of the bay’s space. At dusk we see two guys ashore dressed in military style clothing acting rather suspiciously. Dusk turns to dark and they are still there – doing what? We find it slightly scary so lock our doors during the night for the first time ever.

Envoy anchored near Cape Kiepheli, Albania

Next day we cruise further north to anchor off Qeparo Beach, east of Palermo Headland. Here is also very sheltered and there’s a few tavernas ashore, one of which we visit for a cold and cheap Albanian beer. The barman speaks no English but we all manage OK. At both of these anchorages we are the only boat.

Grotto near our Qeparo Beach anchorage

Peter and Dash meanwhile have cruised past us to go alongside the wharf at Palermo Bay. This is a disused military wharf and very rough with lots of protrusions and no proper bollards. Although it’s only a couple of miles from where we were last night Peter says they got winds gusting 40 knots whereas we had none. The main attraction at Palermo Bay is Ali Pasha’s castle, which we’ve already seen so we move on to anchor in Himare Bay. 

Ali Pasha’s castle viewed from the sea
Tucked in close at the north end of the bay close to a wharf there’s reasonable shelter from the prevailing northerlies, although a bit of residual swell finds its way here. The village is quite atmospheric, even if a little run-down and the locals are mostly quite friendly – even the local Port Police who visit us to check on our ship’s papers. The main issue here is small boats moving at high speed very close. We take a taxi to Himare’s ancient Kastro high in the hills for some spectacular views of the coast.

View from Himare’s Kastro

Himare is the last sheltered anchorage for many miles heading north so after two nights here we head back south again


Envoy anchored in Himare Bay

There are some very run-down apartments in Himare
On the way, passing Sarande we notice our dinghy is missing – my fault as I was the one who secured it (not very well). We haven’t cruised far so backtrack about two miles to find it drifting near a rocky shore. It’stoo risky to take Envoy that close to a lee shore so we anchor off about 50 metres and I swim over to the dinghy which by now is very close to rocks. I manage to climb onto the rocks, push the dinghy away, climb in and start it. I get a few metres away from the rocks and the engine stops – the painter is still dragging in the choppy water and has wound around the prop. I jump back into the water, manage to free the prop quite easily, get back into the dinghy and motor over to Envoy. A good ending to a silly mistake.

Laurie rescuing our drifting dinghy

The only really nice anchorage we found to the south of Sarande is Ftelia Bay, which is very remote and perfectly sheltered from all wind directions except southerly. Again we are the sole boat here and one side of the bay is Albanian while the other is Greek. Some years back it was a military zone and cruisers weren’t allowed to anchor here but it’s all much more relaxed these days. There’s no tavernas or facilities here but Ftlelia would rank among one of the nicest anchorages we’ve found.

Envoy anchored on the Albania/Greek border in Ftlelia Bay


Old fisherman’s cottage on Greek side of Ftlelia Bay
So we clear-out of Albania and head back to Corfu’s Gouvia marina to clear-in to Greece for the last time. The cost is 60 Euros for both clearing in and out, compared to 150 Euros to clear in and the same to clear out of Greece.

69th Birthday? Really?

For everyone wishing me a happy birthday today… thank you. I should not be here. The tree whacking me on the head in 2013 would have killed a normal person. But me Irish genes pulled me through, and my Polish side says “You want a fight? C’mon, b…

Bohus Fortress

Construction of Bohus Fortress, ten miles upriver from Gothenburg, began in 1308 by King Hakon V Magnusson of Norway to defend Norway’s southernmost border. Bohus was considered one of the biggest and strongest in the Nordic region—it survived 14 sieges and was never captured. After passing through the flight of locks at Trollhattan, we continued…

Trollhattan

We knew there was a lot to see and do in and around Trollhattan, but despite allocating four nights, we ended up staying an extra two. From a fabulous berth in the park setting of intimate Spikon Gasthamn, we viewed the Trollhattan Falls and the Gota Alv river, visited the Saab Museum, made a day…

Tebenkof

Sea Otters entertain us as we work our way south down Chatham Strait. Several seiners are out working along the steep cliffs of Kuiu Island. The snow capped peaks of Baranof Island are replaced with low lying forested hills of Kuiu. The fetch builds as we continue south towards the open waters of the Pacific. […]

Sept. 10 – Campobello Island, NB

Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Today we decided to take a ferry to Deer Island and then to Campobello Island. Both islands are part of the Fundy Isles. They sit at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay and were first settled by colonists around 1770. Deer Island is the smallest inhabited island among the Fundy Isles, and is lined with many herring, lobster and salmon fishing villages. Popular activities on Deer Island include beach combing, bird watching, fishing, nature walks and sea kayaking.

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[KensBlog] September Construction Update


NOTE: This blog entry is very different from my normal blog entries. Roberta and I are building a new boat and this boat is focused on the construction process and decisions we are making. If you are seeking a travelogue, stay tuned. That is coming! But . . . we need to get the boat built first.   Greetings! Roberta and I are still in ‘waiting mode’; waiting for our boat to be complete so we can start cruising. That said, I am using the word ‘waiting’ very loosely in that there hasn’t b…
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Trollhattan Locks Marina

From Spikon Gasthamn in downtown Trollhattan we made a ridiculously short 2nm run to a small marina at the top of the Trollhattan locks that was the basin at the topmost flight of the 1844 locks. We figured it would be fun to spend a night in the area and enjoy the boat traffic in…

MXGP of Sweden

We’re always up for an opportunity to take in a world-class sporting event, even if it’s a sport that is new to us. So when we heard that a FIM Motocross World Championship contest was being held about twenty miles from Trollhattan in Uddevalla, Sweden, we just had to attend. Last year’s racing drew 30,000…

Sept. 9 – St. Andrews, NB

“The cure for anything is salt water…sweat, tears or the sea.” ―Isak Dinesen

Today we headed south and back to the sea. Everyone we visited with told us we should check out the little town of Saint Andrews. The town is also known as St. Andrews by-the-Sea and is one of the prettiest resort towns in North America,. It’s one of New Brunswick’s premier vacation destinations. The seaside resort town took hold as a retreat for stressed-out urbanites in the late 1880s. With its iconic Algonquin Hotel, colorful main street, slow pace and natural splendors, it serves the same purpose today. The town sits on the southern tip of a peninsula that juts into Passamaquoddy Bay and is across the St. Croix River from the United States. 

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